Saturday, 23 March 2013

Reincarnation? ( and other matters)

Re-incarnation is a rather dubious theory.  

After all, what is the point of coming back if you cannot remember or learn from the experiences in your “previous life”.
But if we do come back, please may I be:
1.    A Beadle, or

2.  The Custos of Winchester Cathedral, or

3.  The Ceremonarius.

These were some of the “J.K.Rowling” type figures who participated in the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury the other day. 

My preference would be the “Custos” –  with such rich   opportunities to use bad language.

4.  Whatever else please don’t let me come back as a Republican.
Fast Phil was my barber for a few years when I lived in Cambridge, MA. Here is an article about him from a local paper.
 Silliness via my niece Leah in England.


And via my friend Muriel


And thanks to friend Bill Byers for this


Finally, on a serious note, here is a quotation from Diana Butler Bass  which has more than a grain of truth.  I’ll keep it in mind as we enter “Holy Week”
Christianity was never intended
to be a system or a structure 
of belief in the modern sense;
it originated as a
disposition of the heart.

(Diana Butler Bass)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Beauty in Costa Rica

The soothing hot springs at Arenal Volcano. 

(Picture via my friend Ed Ultryo)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

ALL THE J names: Justin Welby, Justin Beiber, J.K. Rowling. J.R.R.Tolkien

Justin Welby.  Justin Beiber.  J.K. Rowling.  J.R.R.Tolkien

I have just glanced at the Order of Service for the enthronement of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.
In fact there were two enthronements:  the first as Bishop of Canterbury; the second as the Archbishop of the Province of Canterbury (church talk) and the Primate of All England (more church talk).
If you’d like for me to explain all this on your death bed my fee will be $5000 (pro-rated for inflation) plus first class air fare.
Anyway, dear and sweet Justin Welby , (well meaning as I believe him to be)  has inherited the hot seat of Anglican Christianity without so much as a campaign, a primary election, a manifesto, a vetting by lay christian leaders, a measurement of his body fat index --  or any other such scrutiny.  

He will be like Justin Beiber - thrust  into the spotlight of celebrity with no training, and no experience of dealing with the paparazzi, or the yellow press, or even of Fox News.

Meanwhile in Canterbury we return to Justin Welby.


This enthroning language is all a bit embarrassing for the modern Church. So his service was entitled:


All well and good I suppose.....  BUT

Before his inauguration/enthronements there were processions of various and sundry dignitaries representing the C of E; other Christian Churches; Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faith traditions  --    together with  all manner of  political, civic and academic leaders.  These processions lasted for one hour!.
There was not one person in the multiple processions who represented the poor and dis-enfranchised.
But Oh My God  (and I mean that) there were titles a plenty.
In the processions there were
Virgirs (using the old English spelling)
The Ostiarius
A Beadle
The Custos of Winchester Cathedral
The Ceremonarius
The Appartitor General (I kid you not)
The Trainbearer

And there were Registrars, Vicar-Generals, a Commissary General, the Dean of the Arches, a Master of the Faculties, the Legal Company, and the Vesturer.

They are such silly titles  - let us all laugh the C of E to scorn.
Oops!  J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien have also created silly titles and names which are celebrated in the popular culture.

So to my English readers – How come that you celebrate the mythologies of Rowling and Tolkien, yet scorn the mythology of the C of E?

I am fairly agnostic about both!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Being contented.

From “Joy in the Morning” ( published 1963) by Betty Smith (author of the fabulous book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.)
In “Joy in the Morning  (set first  in “an up to date college town in the mid west”  in 1927)   Carl aged 20 and Annie aged 18 have just  gotten married before a local judge.  Neither has the consent of a parent.
They are both from Brooklyn.  Carl is more worldly wise than Annie. 
Both are virgins.  Annie, embarrassed by her lack of knowledge about sex is utterly shocked to discover that Carl is also ignorant and in-experienced.   She had thought that at aged 20 he had most certainly lost his virginity.
They fumble through Carl’s aggression (he almost rapes his bride), through Annie’s fear after this scary experience, to the mutual bliss which they experience in bed.
Later in the book there is this dialogue:
Carl asks Annie “Happy?”.
She replies “Contented”
“When are you going to start being happy?”
“Oh, I was happy this morning when I got off the train and saw you.  But now I’m contented”
“What’s the difference between happiness and contentment, wise guy?”
“Well, happy is like when someone gives you a big hunk of something wonderful and it’s too big to hold.  So you pull off a piece from time to time to hold in your hand.  That’s being contented”

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

This is the way of life? (keep your tongue in your cheek)

Some silliness in a cartoon.

It has more than a grain of truth.
(I do not endorse it as a way of life, but I have experienced it in the company of retired Lesbian and Gay friends here in SRQ.)
(I know that it's also true for straight "friendships")

Sunday, 17 March 2013

My brush with the law (or a traffic light camera)

I cannot remember if I was in my late teens and riding a motor scooter, or if I was in my early twenties and driving a car.

I do remember that I was pulled over for speeding somewhere in south Gloucestershire.  The policeman was not convinced by my assertion that I was a bastard son of the Duke of Beaufort, and was on my way to Badminton House to visit the ailing Duchess.  No sir.
So I was hauled before a very strict Beak at Staple Hill Magistrates Court and  found guilty.

At first he sentenced me to be hanged, with time off for good behaviour.

When I pointed out that would be a perfectly wasteful use of rope, he 
sentenced  me to be flogged and then indentured to the Royal Navy for seven years instead.

He relented after his lunch break.  He made me promise that I would never again impersonate a bastard, and issued a small fine.

And in all these more than forty years of motoring (no one says “motoring” these days, so I used the word instead of “driving”).  
“Motoring” befits a bastard son of the Duke of Beaufort ......... oh there I go again!  In all those forty years I’ve not gotten a ticket until now.
I thought that I could beat the traffic light.  Penne was in the back seat and I didn’t want to make a sudden stop, lest she fall off the seat.
I thought that I could beat the traffic light, turning left onto North Washington from Fruitville  -  but the all seeing “red light camera” thought differently.  I protest not, ‘cause I think that the cameras at busy intersections are a good deterrent to red light runners.
I was taken aback by the fine.  It was $158 (with no chance of opting for a flogging).  And if I do not make payment by eight days before the due date, the fine goes up to $264.  
(*It  frosts me a bit that the camera shots are processed in Arizona, and the fine is processed [for the City of Sarasota] in Cincinnati.)
By the way, there are no points for this offence, and it cannot be used to set my insurance rate.

Red light 1  Notice that as I was about the turn the red light time was 000.6 seconds
Red Light 2  Notice also that as I entered the intersection the red light time was 2 seconds!
Also note that  I was driving at 8 mph below the posted speed limit.